Mid October in the Ionian

Dick and Irene Craig
Sun 19 Oct 2008 09:26

Most of the sailing boats which were here when we arrived yesterday, left this morning. There is still almost no wind but I guess that, when you have chartered a boat for a week, you are going to take it out, even if you have to motor.

We had hoped to plug into the electricity supply while we were here, on the quayside at Fiskardho but it seems that although it looks as if there is power available, we were unable to access it. There is power on the wooden pontoon, 100 metres away and the prepaid cards are easily available. The guy who is in charge of the chandlery told us that if we wanted electricity, we have to move to the pontoon. It is not necessary. We are pretty self sufficient.

We were surrounded by cats and kittens as we ate our evening meal in one of the tavernas ashore. This tends to be very typical of tavernas in Greece but unlike so many places, none of these cats looked as if they went short of food. Nonetheless, 3 of them finished off my delicious Kefelonian meat pie. The portions are too large for me to eat a whole one.

We hear that storms are raging in the Aegean. They started Saturday and will continue well into Monday. Friends report recent gales in Valencia, with wind strengths registering up to 61knots. That sounds really scarey!. We are grateful that we can sit here, on the boat, with flat seas, a blue sunny sky and almost no wind. Long may it last although it doesn’t do a lot for the sailing.

A tripper boat arrives which resembles a Turkish gullet. The passengers disembark and cycle off to explore the island. What a novel idea. The boat takes its passengers from island to island, supplying the bicycles which are made available to them on arrival.

Before leaving the picturesque village of Fiskardho, I visit the local baker and buy some flour, so that I might continue to make bread on board.

We release the lines ashore, lift the anchor and move to Sivota, on the island of Levkas. As we pass across the busy commercial route, we are most impressed that one of the freighters actually changed course for us. It wasn’t even our right of way.

Sivota is a very popular resort visited by many flotillas and charter boats. We did appreciate this before we decided to visit this hamlet but felt that it was worth visiting the bay nonetheless. However, not being able to access WiFi is disappointing.

Levkas is an island, only because a canal, built at the turn of the century by the Greek government, separates it from the mainland. An earlier canal was dug by the Corinthians around the 7th century BC and by Augustus, during the Roman occupation.

The prices of fruit and vegetables has increased enormously since arriving at Fiskardho, presumably because most, if not all of it is ferried to the islands from the mainland.

We left Sivota mid morning and arrived at Spartakhori ( Port Spiglia), on the island of Meganisi, in time for lunch, a journey of just under 7 nautical miles, on flat seas that resembled a mirror. Meganisi is shaped rather like a tadpole with a number of natural harbours which we hope to explore over the next few days. The strait between Levkas and Meganisi is very beautiful with the high slopes of Levkas to one side and more gentle slopes of Meganisi in the other. Vegetation such as cypress and olive trees, grow right down to the edge of the sea.

We ate at the taverna in the harbour which seemed only reasonable. The owner of the taverna had invested quite a lot of money installing the lazy lines and deserved to recoup his investment. At this time of year, there is not as much uptake on the facilities but he told us that, in the summer months, 100 boats a day stop here.

After walking up to the village, 300 feet above, we admired the magnificent view before returning to the boat. We departed Spiglia and made our way to a bay, just 3 miles away, where we planned to anchor for the night.

Our first attempt to anchor in the middle of a small bay within the bay of  Ofkapali was thwarted, the anchor just didn’t want to set. I then noticed that this small bay was inhabited by dozens of small, white jelly fish which, when at their largest, were the size of flattened tennis balls. We moved to another small bay within Ofkapali and this time, when we dropped the anchor, it set successfully. Dick swam ashore with 2 long lines which he secured around large rocks. There was a solitary small jelly fish in this small bay but it was a very peaceful anchorage and we were tempted to stay another night. Instead, we decided to move on to Nidri, on Levkas where we will spend the weekend as  rain is forecast from Saturday evening until late Sunday evening.

Before leaving Meganisi, we visited 3 other bays with a view to returning next week after the rain. This is truly a very lovely cruising ground, on par with Skopea Limani, near Gocek in Turkey, where we learnt to sail June, 2006.

There are so many islands of varying sizes, most of which have thick vegetation right down to the edge of the water. The trees seem to be mainly cypress and olives but there are many other trees including the tall thin Italian pines. Close, around the perimeter of some of the islands, the water is bright blue.

We passed the southern side of Skorpios and Skorpidhi, the private islands of the Onassis family. The island of Skorpios has been planted as a park and even the small part that we were able to see, was stunningly beautiful. The sloping sides of Levkas is also heavily wooded and a pleasure to observe.

Nidri is a water sports and yacht charter centre and we found that with the ferries and tripper boats, there was insufficient room for us to moor on the town quay. This did not pose a problem as the huge, long bay of Vlikho had few boats at anchor and we made just one more, as we anchored in 4 metres, near the end of the bay, far from the ferries and the charter boats.

We spent a very peaceful weekend at anchor in the bay of Vlikho and although Saturday was cloudy, the threatened rain didn’t materialize.

Below:- The gullet with bikes stored on the higher level at the stern of the boat, tied up in a bay where the crystal clear water is like glass.

             Fiskhardo village where we bought the flour for the bread from the baker.

             Dick is determined to raise the foresail, despite the true wind registering less than 6 knots.

             A tiny island between off the tadpole shaped island of Meganisi en-route to Port Atheni from the bay of Ofkapali

             Its Irene's watch